News & Press

Event Alert: Plimoth Cinema Hosts Premiere of SPELLERS

New Documentary Offers Hope and Challenges Conventional Wisdom about Autism

Plimoth Patuxet Museums announces the world premiere screening of the new full-length documentary SPELLERS at the Museum’s Plimoth Cinema. The event will take place on Sunday, April 30, at 3:00 p.m. and will feature a panel discussion.

Inspired by the book Underestimated, by Jamie and JB Handley, from Executive Producers Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlberg, the film SPELLERS challenges conventional wisdom regarding a group relegated to society’s margins: nonspeakers with autism, who most “experts” believe are cognitively disabled.

As the film opening asks, “What if they'd been wrong…about every single one of them?” SPELLERS answers that question, in convincing fashion, through the stories of eight nonspeakers—Aydan, Evan, Sid, Maddie, Jamie, Vince, Cade, and Elizabeth—who all found their voice through the process of using a letterboard to communicate their thoughts and feelings. As Jamie explains, “we think, feel, and learn just like everyone else.”

The film blends beautiful cinematography with heart-wrenching stories of these eight spellers and a strong message for every parent of a non-speaker: your child can do this, too. SPELLERS also demands that teachers, schools, and therapists wake up to the reality that we may have underestimated the abilities of more than 50 million people worldwide.

Neil and Lori Rogers, parents of an autistic son that has responded positively to the techniques of learning explored in the documentary, are partnering with Plimoth Cinema to present SPELLERS to the community.

“This groundbreaking film opens a new conversation about autism,” said Neil Rogers. “As autism parents, we hope that the information and perspectives shared in this documentary will promote awareness and compassion in our community.”

JB Handley, the best-selling author of How to End the Autism Epidemic and co-author with his son Jamie of the recent book, Underestimated, commented about the role he sees the film having in challenging the conventional wisdom around autism. “SPELLERS promises to create a cultural shift through this film’s thoughtful message and real-life examples.”

Event Details

Where: Plimoth Cinema at Plimoth Patuxet Museums, 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA, 02360

When: Sunday, April 30, 2023

Time: Film at 3:00 pm followed by panel discussion

Cost: $15 per person. A portion of this ticket will support Plimoth Patuxet Museums’
educational mission.

Register here

Film Trailer

About Plimoth Patuxet

Plimoth Patuxet is one of the Nation’s foremost living history museums. Founded in 1947, the Museum creates engaging experiences of history built on thorough research about the Indigenous and European people who met along Massachusetts' historic shores of change in the 1600s. Immersive and educational encounters underscore the collaborations as well as the cultural clash and conflicts of the 17th-century people of this region. Major exhibits include the Historic Patuxet Homesite, the 17th-Century English Village, Mayflower II, and Plimoth Grist Mill. A private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution, Plimoth Patuxet is supported by admission fees, donations, memberships, and revenue from a variety of educational programming, dining and gift shops. Plimoth Patuxet receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, private foundations, corporations, and local businesses. Located less than an hour’s drive south of Boston, and 15 minutes north of Cape Cod, the Museum is open daily from early spring through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. For more information, visit Follow the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.